It was one of the best performances of 2018. Tony Harrison, the light-middleweight boxer from Detroit, challenged Jermell Charlo for the WBC title just 72 hours before Christmas Day in Brooklyn. Few gave him hope against the division’s top-ranked performer.
But in true underdog fashion, Harrison produced a scintillating display, dominating the middle of the ring and taking very little punishment from the heavy-hitting champion. After 12 rounds of grueling action, the contest went to the judges’ scorecards. The result was unanimous: in their view, the Michigan man had done enough to rip the belt from Charlo’s waist and add his name to the legacy of boxing champions from the state.
Charlo immediately exercised his rematch clause, but after Harrison suffered an injury which scuppered their original summer date, the contracts have been signed that will see the pair lock horns on December 21 at a Californian venue yet to be announced.
There was some consternation from the former champion’s camp over the verdict in their first fight, and Harrison is looking forward to putting that to bed this festive season. “There were three championship judges who all said I won,” he has been quoted by Boxing Insider. “I don’t pay attention to what Jermell has to say, but I can’t wait to beat him again and prove to everyone that I am the champion now.”
This is just one of a litany of exciting fights that will see out 2019 and bring in the new year. Deontay Wilder defends his WBC heavyweight strap in a rematch against Luis Ortiz on November 23, and while he won’t be overlooking the Cuban there is, of course, the tantalizing prospect of an even richer rematch against Tyson Fury to come in February.
That bout will be blown out of the water should the champion fail to overcome Ortiz, but assuming he wins then the collision with the Gypsy King will be one to savor. Indeed, it’s rare that the non-belt holder is considered a favorite with the sportsbooks, but that’s exactly the situation in the Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury betting odds from Paddy Power with the champ a +125 outsider. These could be a tough few months for the Bronze Bomber.
Other headline fighters in action in the next few months include Andy Ruiz Jr’s rematch with Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin and highly-fancied American Michael Hunter, Daniel Jacobs and many more besides.
These are great times for fight fans!
Harrison Bringing Boxing Back to Detroit
Detroit is a city with a rich boxing heritage, from the legendary Joe Louis and Thomas Hearns to current super-middleweight force Tony Harrison. Many of the best in the business have made their way through the Kronk Gym in Motor City, with Emanuel Stewart training Lennox Lewis in Detroit and the likes of Evander Holyfield, Naseem Hamed, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Adonis Stevenson all stepping through the doors at one time or another.
The famous gym is still going strong, albeit at a new facility, and Harrison himself is looking to future-proof the sport of boxing in Detroit by opening his own SuperBad Fitness center in the city. The WBC champion welcomes people of all ages, shapes, and sizes into the gym, with a focus on respect and discipline helping to change the lives of many youngsters who might otherwise take a different path in life.
Boxing is only part of the plan at the Puritan Avenue facility, with all fighters expected to pitch in with cleaning and maintenance. It is Harrison’s mission to teach them life skills as much as the sweet science inside the ring. Happily, the future of the sport in Detroit is looking strong, with Claressa Shields continuing to dominate women’s boxing and the promoter Dmitriy Salita bringing a number of skillful fighters through.
Motor City is up and running once more.